PUNE: The city police are investigating an FIR lodged by a lawyer-cum-director of an education cooperative from Jalgaon, accusing senior state BJP leader and former minister Girish Mahajan and 28 others of conspiracy, extortion, theft, forgery and 14 other criminal charges related to an incident of January 2018.
Prima facie, the case arises from a tussle to gain control over the Maratha Vidya Prasarak Sahakari Samaj, a cooperative organization in Jalgaon. Complainant Vijay Patil is one of its directors and the persons named in the FIR are its office-bearers and members, a police officer, who did not wish to be named, said.
Patil registered a zero FIR with the Jalgaon rural police. It has been transferred to the Kothrud police as the alleged incident occurred at different locations in its jurisdiction, starting with an eatery on Karve road and an apartment in Sadashiv Peth.
Patil claimed that Mahajan and others conspired and called him to the Karve road eatery on the pretext of handing over some documents of the organization. From there, they allegedly took him to a flat in Sadashiv Peth, tied him up and kept him confined while demanding Rs5 lakh and asking him to give up his interests in the cooperative organization.
When contacted, Mahajan refuted all the allegations and told TOI, “It’s a politically motivated case to malign me. I have myself moved the Bombay high court (HC) with a prayer for a proper and impartial investigation. I have nothing to hide.”
Mahajan has moved the HC for quashing of the FIR on the grounds of delay. The matter has been posted for next hearing on January 7.
The HC has allowed the investigating officer to go ahead with the probe but has restrained the police from filing a chargesheet against Mahajan without its permission. It has also restrained the police from taking any coercive action against Mahajan till the next date.
The HC bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice M S Karnik, while hearing the matter on December 17, 2020, took note of Mahajan’s lawyer Milind Sathe’s argument that the three years of delay in the lodging of complaint was by itself a sufficient ground for quashing the FIR.
Pune’s assistant commissioner of police for Kothrud division Machchindra Chavan told TOI, “We received the eight-page FIR from the Jalgaon police last (Monday) night and the same has been numbered here for an investigation. We shall now ask the complainant to record his statement afresh before us and investigate the entire matter and the alleged role by each and every person named in the FIR.”